Abused and celebrated

"It's a girl," her grandfather wrote on a piece of paper for his wife after Alice Schwarzer's birth and placed it on the kitchen table. There was no reason to celebrate. The mother was unmarried, the father unknown. This girl, who was born in the wartime winter of 1942 and whom no one could really use, became a champion for women's rights as an adult. Today Alice Schwarzer turns 65.

It was the years of independent women that Alice Schwarzer grew up in, and it was the gentle grandfather who predominantly took care of the child. "I come from a family where it never imposed itself that women are the born good mothers and men are the monsters," she says. At the age of 21, Alice Schwarzer made the decision to become a journalist. After a year of language studies in Paris, she began her training at the "Dusseldorfer Nachrichten" in the local editorial office in Neuss in 1966. After a brief foray into a large-format glossy, she eventually landed a job as a reporter for the satirical magazine "Pardon".In 1969, Alice Schwarzer returned to Paris as a correspondent for various newspapers, where she came into contact with French feminists. In 1971, she helped prepare the sensational campaign against the abortion ban: 343 women confessed to their abortions in the "Nouvel Observateur". For the "Stern" magazine, which took over the "We have had an abortion" campaign for Germany, Schwarzer rounded up 374 women, among them Romy Schneider, Senta Berger, Sabine Sinjen and Carola Stern. Reactions ranged from gratitude for breaking taboos to savage insults. Section 218 and Schwarzer's "breakthrough" Back in Germany, Schwarzer caused another scandal when her contribution on ยง 218 for the ARD magazine Panorama was not broadcast at the instigation of the directors of the TV station. The year 1975 finally made Alice Schwarzer Germany's most prominent women's rights activist. In September, "The Little Difference" was published with 14 detailed portraits of women and became a bestseller. The fact that the "Bild" newspaper declared her to be a "wicked witch" with a "piercing gaze through large glasses" is one of the more harmless slurs.The financial success of the book brought Alice Schwarzer the money to fulfill her dream of a professionally made magazine for women. On 26. January 1977 saw the publication of the first ie of "Emma," still Europe's only political women's magazine.For Alice Schwarzer, busy years followed, during which she continued to push new projects. This was also the case in June 1978, when she, Inge Meysel and others sued Stern for its "sexist" cover pictures. Drive gave her something that irritated her since her puberty: "Women were treated differently than men. I was not used to that in my family – and I did not want to accept that in the world."The fight against pornography In 1979, she began to draw attention to misogyny in Iran, which had become fundamentalist. In 1987, it initiated a campaign against pornography, denouncing sexist torture scenes in Helmut Newton's photographs in 1994. She tirelessly campaigns to ensure that she and her ies remain in the public eye. As a journalist with her clear argumentation – as most recently in the book "The Answer," in which she formulates current social and feminist viewpoints. But even as the recognized institution that it has become.She uses her new salon ability to appear on television with Beckmann, Gottschalk and Co. chatting about women's rights, criticism of Islamism and other topics close to her heart, or even playing a little rock'n'roll. This is one of the reasons why opinions differ about Alice Schwarzer.It causes problems for men who can't stand a woman speaking out loudly, and for women who seek refuge in the security of tradition. Beyond that, however, it snubs those who want the seriousness of their views evidenced by the seriousness of the person throughout. Despite all her adversaries and contradictions, she proved conclusively "that a woman can also be uncomfortable, and then not always loved for it, but not immediately beheaded either".By Ulrike Krickau (epd)

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